The Jazz Ministry at Saint Peter’s Church announces Frank Wess Honoree at All Night Soul 2010 Sunday, October 10 Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington (at 54th Street), New York City
On this the 40th anniversary of All Nite Soul, the Jazz Ministry of Saint Peter’s Church – the Jazz Church – is thrilled to honor National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master, saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess. The event begins with Jazz Vespers at 5 PM. All Nite Soul starts at 7 PM with over 80 musicians celebrating All Nite Soul and honoring Frank Wess. An “exhibit wall” in the Living Room of Saint Peter’s Church will tell the story of Frank Wess with memorabilia.
Frank Wess is revered as a smoothly swinging tenor saxophone player in the Lester Young tradition, as an expert alto saxophonist, and as one of the most influential, instantly recognizable flutists in jazz history. In 2007, Frank Wess received America’s Highest Honor in Jazz, the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Frank Wellington Wess was born on January 4, 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri. Frank first studied classical music and played with the Kansas All-State High School Orchestra. After moving to Washington, DC, in 1935, he began to play jazz in lunchtime jam sessions with fellow students, including Billy Taylor. An early touring career was interrupted by military service –– he played in a 17-piece band during World War II –– and then was resumed when he came out of the Army and joined an outstanding lineup in the Billy Eckstine Orchestra. It was at this time that he took up the flute, studying at the Modern School of Music in Washington.
Wess joined the Count Basie big band in 1953, helping it to evolve during its so-called “New Testament” phase and remaining with it until 1964. Wess’s flute playing, set off by Neal Hefti’s arrangements, contributed strongly to the Basie Orchestra’s new sound, while his tenor saxophone playing served as a counterpoint to the more fiery sound of Frank Foster. Wess has played since the 1960s in countless settings: with Clark Terry’s big band, the New York Quartet with Roland Hanna, Dameronia (1981-85), and Toshiko Akiyoshi’s Jazz Orchestra. During this period, he also bridged the worlds of jazz and popular show business. Wess performed as a staff musician for ABC Television, both for the Dick Cavett Show and for the David Frost Show (with the Billy Taylor Orchestra). In Broadway pit bands, he played for shows such as Golden Boy (starring Sammy Davis), Irene (with Debbie Reynolds), and Sugar Babies (with Mickey Rooney). For ten years, he played first-chair tenor saxophonist in the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. He has also led his own big bands on world tours, and has played recently in the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni Big Band. Widely recorded on many labels, both as a leader and a sideman, Wess is a perennial favorite in DownBeat polls and a now-legendary presence on the jazz scene. His most recent album is Once is Not Enough (Labeth, 2009) (Thanks to the NEA for this biographical information.)
“In jazz parlance, tenor saxophonist and flutist Frank Wess is ‘somethin’ else.’ On one hand, (as Luis Bonillo said) Frank is the ‘pinnacle of elegance.’ On another, he is a down-home character who can swing like there’s no tomorrow, can play the blues with hearty grit, can write band parts that stand up and shout.” The Star Ledger, Zan Stewart
“All Nite Soul” was created in 1970 to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the first Jazz Vespers service held in 1965. The event has continued every year since then with hundreds of musicians performing and coming together in a “jazz love fest.” The Hungry Souls’ Café, an important feature of the event, serves homemade Soul Food! All Nite Soul is held in October starting on the Sunday evening of Columbus Day weekend and continues into Monday morning, hence the name All Nite Soul. Each year a major jazz icon is celebrated. Those honored in recent years include Dr. Billy Taylor, Benny Powell, Jane Jarvis and Joe Wilder.
The Jazz Ministry of Saint Peter’s Church is “a home for diverse individuals and communities which celebrates the dignity and vitality of Jazz, provides vibrant liturgy and pastoral care, and through intersecting partnerships, offers jazz programs, education and services.” An outreach program of Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City, The Jazz Ministry was founded in 1965 by the late Reverend John Garcia Gensel who created Jazz Vespers, a worship service featuring a wide range of jazz musicians that is held each Sunday at 5:00 PM. Our pastors include Amandus Derr, Jared Stahler, Kaji Spellman, Bill Eschen, Héctor Ribone and vicar Kevin O’Hara. The Jazz Ministry thrives today with many events and programs such as All Nite Soul, Prez Fest, Jazz on the Plaza, Seminars for Musicians, Midtown Jazz at Midday, memorials, tributes, concerts, and others yet to be developed, to serve the jazz community.
All Nite Soul 2010 – Honoring Frank Wess takes place on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at Saint Peter’s Church, 619 Lexington Avenue (at 54th Street), New York City.
5:00 PM: Jazz Vespers Free Will Offering
7:00 PM: All Nite Soul Concert — $20 Suggested Ticket Donation in advance.
$25 Suggested Ticket Donation at the door. Tickets in advance at http://www.saintpeters.org/jazz / http://www.facebook.com/saintpetersjazz 212 935 2200
“E” train to Lexington Avenue or “#6” to 51st Street